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( Hawkhurst )
Lillesden School for Girls,
(formerly Bedgebury Lower School)
The property is a detached Grade II Listed building Dating from 1855 arranged over lower ground, ground and three upper floors beneath a pitched roof occupying a site extending to approximately 9.6 hectares (24 acres). There is a range of outbuildings and a former swimming pool.
'Lillesden House' was built for Colonel Edward Lloyd (1820-1890) in 1855. Colonel Lloyd held numerous positions of office, JP for Lancashire and Kent, the Sheriff of Kent, Lt Col 1st Manchester Rifle Volunteers amongst others. The house remained in the family for many years and is believed to have been used in both World Wars by the military before becoming an independent girls school.
The info below in great detail is from - www.jarrelook.co.uk (?)
In 1853 an old Elizabethan mansion together with the surrounding grounds was bought by Lieutenant Colonel Edward Loyd, a wealthy banker from Manchester. Eventually his bank, Jones Loyd & Co, became what is now the Nat West. By 1876 Loyd had also become the High Sheriff of Kent. This influential figure is said to have dined out the Kaiser of Germany on his steam powered yacht "Daydream".
Loyd set about creating his perfect home by demolishing the original house and building in it's place a Gothic Victorian mansion. He also made several major improvements to the estate including the damming of the Kent Ditch stream to create ornamental lakes, the building of a gas works, an ice house, a modern water supply and a tower. By 1862 he had added a conservatory on to the south side of the house and planted ornamental gardens on adjacent farm land he had also acquired.
Colonel Loyd died in 1890 followed ten years later by his wife, leaving the estate, which by now covered 199 hectares, to their youngest son Llewellyn.
Just 14 years later the First World War broke out and the house was requisitioned to be used as a hospital for Belgian refugees and wounded soldiers. Soon after the war, in 1922, the estate was broken up and the house, together with approximately 10 hectares of the park, was bought by Saint Wilfred’s Boys Preparatory School. The boy's school remained at the house until 1936 when it was offered for sale, described as ‘most suitable for a large institution, boys’ or girls’ school, hotel, convent or private residence’ with ‘beautiful gardens and grounds’ (taken from the Sales Particulars of that time). Yet another change of name followed and it became Saint Cuthbert’s Girls School. But the school's residency was short lived for only four years later in 1940 the War Office took over the site to use as a hospital yet again.
When the Second World War ended the buildings were handed back but they were in such an appalling state much work had to be done to restore a semblance of order. But despite the problems everything was soon back to normal and they took the opportunity to expand further still. And with the expansion came yet another name change, this time to "Lillesden Girls School". Lillesden did well over the years and continued to expand, buying up nearby properties including Hall House, Collingwood House and Malt House. In 1975 the school merged with Bedgebury Park, Goudhurst and Hollington Park Schools and was renamed yet again, this time as Bedgebury Lower School. But in 1998 the end came for the Lillesden site. The school at that time was very popular with the pupils so it was with great sadness that everything moved over to nearby Bedgebury.
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